In the North Valley, our crews followed Madera Police as they continue pro-active patrols. The say around this time of the year, gang violence has been known to increase which is why the Special Investigations Unit is out on the streets.
The unit is made up of nine officers and the goal is to arrest gang members and suppress gun violence.
Last week, the SIU arrested Jorge Martinez for having a loaded revolver hidden in his waistband. Police say he had gang ties.
“He was in a car full of other gang members as well so who knows what would have happened that night if we wouldn’t have contacted him,” said Sergeant Josh Chavez.
With him that night police arrested Carlos Bazante for possessing cocaine for sale and Jacob Contreras for possessing a stolen car.
Sergeant Chavez leads the SIU, a team that’s focused on pro-actively patrolling neighborhoods where gang activity is growing.
“We have an influx gun violence, gang violence during the fall kind of like the holiday season. It spikes. It’s been trending that way for a few years now,” said Chavez.
Chavez says there are several subsets of Norteno and Sureno gangs throughout Madera County. Later, officers make contact with an alleged gang associate on probation. They say he was using drugs in this driveway.
On our last stop — police rush to an apartment where they say three guys ran from them after being caught with alcohol and marijuana on the street.
“They’re out here drinking and smoking. The officers told them to stop and they ran in the house so now they’re not coming out so they’re gonna be arrested,” said Chavez.
If the individuals did not delay or obstruct officers, they’d probably just get cited police say but it’s illegal to smoke weed and drink out in public, a preventable mistake. Think of the SIU as a squad prepared to take on gang members but able to assist wherever needed. In this case, it’s unknown if the three individuals are gang affiliated.
“You guys either cause problems in your mom’s house or come out here like a man and go to jail. You’re gonna go to jail regardless,” said Chavez to the group.